Here are the companies complicit in deporting people to Jamaica

National Express coah
Fréa Lockley

On 11 February, the government deported 17 people to Jamaica. This came despite widespread outrage and a successful legal challenge. Originally the government wanted to send away around 50 people. Yet in a sickening twist, the government has since defended its actions. Meanwhile, calls are growing to boycott and discredit the companies who profit from deportations. One of the linked companies posted record profits last year and has direct government connections.

Jamaica 50

The so-called ‘Jamaica 50’ includes many people who came to the UK as children. On 10 February, a series of legal challenges sought to stop the deportations. Although the Court of Appeal ruled some were not legal and later rejected a Home Office appeal against its decision, by this stage too many people had already been placed on coaches and were denied phone contact with lawyers and relatives.

One thread from Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) showed what people were subjected to through the night:

And others working to challenge the case also noted the huge trauma for all involved:

Chancellor Sajid Javid told BBC Radio 5 Live that those deported:

are all foreign national offenders – they have all received custodial sentences of 12 months or more. They are responsible for crimes like manslaughter, rape, dealing in class A drugs.

“We’re not even saying sorry,” he insisted. A Home Office statement also refused to apologise.

Labour’s Zarah Sultana pointed to the heartbreaking facts about those people involved and accused the Home Office of “misleading the public”:

As David Lammy also noted, this case shows that “lessons from Windrush have not been learned”.

It’s thought that everyone on the coaches and deported is Black. This seems to reveal blatant racism from the government:

“Home Office blood money”

For those outraged by this case, there’s one simple way to take action and support everyone involved. As people were taken from detention centres, pictures emerged of the coaches used for deportations. These clearly highlight two companies – Kings Ferry and Clarkes Coaches:

Both these companies are owned by the Kings Ferry Group. National Express bought Kings Ferry in 2007.

So pressure is mounting to boycott all the coach companies involved:

A National Express spokesperson told The Canary: “We are not providing a comment” about this matter.

However, further investigation into publicly available information about National Express is revealing.

Profiting from deportation

In 2019, National Express announced “record” group operating profits of £215.4m up to 31 December 2018.

In the same year, its executive directors did well from this too. Records show that chief executive Dean Finch earned £4.2m. Meanwhile, finance director Chris Davies earned £1.2m, and executive director Matt Ashley got £1.8m.

National Express’s non-executive director and chair is John Armitt. Armitt has several close government connections. Between 2007 to 2014 he chaired the Olympic Delivery Authority. He’s currently chair of the government-linked National Infrastructure Commission. His CV includes key roles with other government bodies. He’s also worked as chief executive for companies including Network Rail and construction giants Costain and John Laing. A report from Corporate Watch notes that all these companies profited from several Public Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes.

Flight risk

It’s still unclear which airline the government used for these deportations. Initial reports suggested this may be Titan Airlines. As The Canary reported in 2019, the government used a Titan plane to deport 35 people to Jamaica. The so-called Stansted 15 answered a “call for help” and stopped another Titan Airways deportation flight.

Initial reports on social media linked Titan to this deportation. However, a Titan Airlines spokesperson told The Canary it “did not have any involvement in the plane which left on 11 February”.

But we can, and should, still call out all companies with links to deportation flights. In 2018, Virgin Atlantic continued to help the Home Office despite promises not to. And some staff have also challenged British Airways for its role in deportation flights.

Boycotting these companies won’t ease the pain of those subjected to this trauma, nor will it return those people ripped from their families last night. But dented profits are what hurts corporate fat cats the most. We can’t let those profiting from “home office blood money” get away with it.

Featured image Flickr – EDDIE

Get involved

  • Boycott all companies profiting from deportations.
  • Sign the petition to end deportation flights.

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